6 Ways to Reduce Anxiety & Stay Present on Your Wedding Day

Photo by  Quyn Duong

Photo by Quyn Duong

Dear Quyn,

Our wedding is just around the corner, and everything’s starting to pile up! We’re nervous, stressed, and, worst of all, worried that all of this anxiety is going to show up in our photos. How do we stay sane throughout all of this?


Bundle of Nerves

Dear Nerves,

The weeks leading up to your wedding day can certainly feel like some of the most stressful in your life. Between finalizing plans and worrying about what might go wrong, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the chaos and forget to actually enjoy one of the biggest celebrations of your life. The root cause of all this? The illusion of perfection. Take a breath and read through these six ways to stay present during your wedding day, instead of getting wrapped up in the idea that everything should be ‘perfect.’

1. Hire a Month-of Coordinator to take care of the details.

First and foremost, hire a professional you can trust to make sure everything is in place. Who's going to make sure grandma gets to the venue? Or that every flower is in place and name cards are set out? Your coordinator will make sure everything will run smoothly. But more importantly, they’ll be the one working out any surprise kinks that will inevitably come up so that all you’ll need to do is enjoy the magic. (And no, this shouldn’t be your maid of honor. She needs to be present, too!)

2. Embrace the imperfections.

No, your wedding day will not become a disaster if something doesn’t go as planned (refer back to tip #1). It’s okay to have some non-negotiables, but allow yourself to roll with the punches if any come up. Love is imperfect, and everyone knows that.

3. Make the day about your personal love story.

It’s easy to compare every detail of your wedding day to the picture-perfect spreads in magazines and on blogs. We get overwhelmed with having the perfect wedding day because we're constantly seeing these photo shoots of styled (read: fake) weddings. Remember these are great for inspiration, but they don’t carry any of the emotions you’ll experience on your wedding day. When your wedding is surrounded by intimate reminders of your personal story, you’ll be constantly reminded of the uniqueness of your day. There won’t be any cookie-cutter wedding to worry about.

4. Exchange handwritten letters to each other.

Exchanging letters before the ceremony is a great way to ground yourself in the midst of chaos. Not only does this present a fantastic photo-op, but it allows you to carve out time to focus on why you’re here. Write simple reminders of why you care for each other or your musings for the future. The wedding details are all secondary to celebrating your commitment.

5. There's no right way to do it, so do it your way.

If the thought of shoveling cake in your partner's face freaks you out, don't do it. If you want to get ready together in the morning, go for it! Figure out which traditions are important to you and which ones you can forget about. Traditions are important only as long as they hold purpose and meaning to you and your partner. Keep in mind that this day really is all about you two and nothing can take that away from you, not even a break in tradition.

6. Plan a moment for yourself on the big day.

While you’re getting ready to walk down the aisle, anxieties will be high, and you’ll want everything to be right. Take a moment to meditate on why you are here, everything this means to you, and who you are surrounding yourself with. This moment could be all alone, with your best friends, or with each other—whoever will make you feel the most calm and grounded. Planning a moment of silence or solitude will make all the difference. Take it all in. These thoughts will allow you to focus on the importance of these moments, instead of worrying about each step being perfect. This day is all about you and celebrating the love of your life. Don’t get too wrapped up in the details, just enjoy!

Quyn Duong is a photographer based in New York City. Her work is centered around capturing the mood and genuine emotions of a story that later evoke the feelings of any given fleeting moment.